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What it Means to: "Engage your Core"

engage the core

Proper core mechanics = good spinal health

The core is one of the most powerful ways that we can influence our spinal health on an individual basis. But it is an unfortunately reality that fewer people than ever seem to know exactly what their core is, let alone how to use it to influence good health. As we will find below, engaging your core is not just flexing the muscles of your stomach. So let's start with the basics; your core consists of the following muscles:

  • Transversus abdominis
  • Multifidus
  • Diaphragm
  • Pelvic floor muscles

These groups work in tandem to provide stability to the middle of your body, the most important part of which is the lumbar region of the spine. A weak core leaves you vulnerable to many back injuries, both acute and repetitive in nature. 

 

Engaging the core effectively

If I was to say, put your fingers on your transversus abdominis, where would you put them? Here's the strategy: place two fingers on your hip bones then move your hand 1 inch in toward the belly button, followed by 1 inch down toward the feet and you should have your fingers directly on the transversus abdominis. Now contract the muscles of the core, as you see fit. With a correct contraction, you should feel a gentle tightening right underneath your fingers. Anything more and you are cheating; contracting too much which means that other muscle groups are overcompensating. 

Core mechanics are an essential part of our wellness plan

Now you know what an exercise means when it says: "engage the core." Many of these exercises are central to our spinal care and wellness program at Associates in Chiropractic. For more help on using your core to your advantage, as well as ideas on how to keep your spine in good shape throughout life, give our office in Hackensack a call to schedule an appointment today. 

 

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